Football is a lucrative business, with billions generated in revenue by clubs through broadcasting rights, ticket/player sales, and sponsorship deals.
As well as the money involved, success in football comes with great prestige and pride. The game has become an attractive investment prospect for many millionaires and billionaires worldwide.
In modern times, elite football has seen clubs run and financed by multi-billionaire owners — individuals, groups, or states.
While some club owners like the Glazer family (Manchester United) and Stan Kroenke (Arsenal) may be unpopular with fans, other owners are adored by fans of their clubs — former Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is a perfect example.
In this article, Surprise Sports looks at the world’s top 10 best football club owners.
1. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Manchester City)
Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan regularly gets accused of buying success with money. But that’s not entirely true.
Rather, Al Nahyan has invested in the right areas since taking over the club and is constantly reaping the rewards. He is undoubtedly one of the best football club owners.
He always ticks the right boxes from the board to the manager and the players.
The city has invested not just in the senior team but at all levels. They have created a world-class training center while the youth teams also strengthen yearly.
Apart from Man City, MLS side New York City, A-League outfit Melbourne City, Girona FC in Spain, Mumbai City in India, Belgian side Lommel SK and the Uruguayan team Montevideo City are among the clubs controlled by the City Football Group owned by Sheikh Mansour.
2. Nasser Al-Khelaifi (PSG)
Qatari businessman Nasser Al-Khelaifi is the head of Qatar Sports Investments, which owns and operates French giant PSG.
Al-Khelaifi is also the chairman of the beIN Media Group, which broadcasts various sports.
Since taking over the club, the owners have transformed PSG into the biggest club in France and one of the best in Europe.
They are never shy of splashing the cash to recruit the best players in the world.
Their biggest signing was the world record €222 million (£198m/$263m) transfer of Neymar from Barcelona in 2017.
3. Dietrich Mateschitz (RB Salzburg, RB Leipzig, NY Red Bulls)
Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz has an extensive portfolio of teams across various sports, with most bearing the name of his company.
In football, he owns Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, Austrian giants RB Salzburg and MLS side New York Red Bulls.
Salzburg has built a reputation for identifying young players and turning them into world-class players, having done so with Sadio Mane, Erling Haaland, Naby Keita, Karim Adeyemi, and Takumi Minamino.
Leipzig has also established itself as one of the top teams in the German Bundesliga.
Dietrich Mateschitz has made money for himself and his company with his football clubs. You can find out how football club owners make money.
4. Andrea Agnelli & family (Juventus)
The Agnelli family are the owners of Juventus, with Andrea Agnelli being the face of the family’s football enterprise, serving as President of the club.
As an industrialist family, the Agnelli family’s business interests are varied. Still, they are mostly synonymous with the motor car industry — manufacturing cars like Fiat, Chrysler, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and others.
The family has been running Juventus for almost 100 years.
They regularly invest heavily in Juve to ensure it competes at its highest level.
5. Todd Boehly & Partners (Chelsea)
Even as the Roman Abramovich era ends at Chelsea, the London club will remain one of the richest in the world.
That’s because the consortium led by new owner Todd Boehly is worth a combined £10.86bn.
The new owners are not shy of spending the cash either, as Chelsea spent a record £270m during the 2022 summer transfer window.
6. John Henry (Liverpool)
In 2010, Liverpool was on the verge of bankruptcy, and the club’s creditors asked the High Court to allow the sale of the club.
John Henry — the owner of the Boston Red Sox and Fenway Sports Group — bid successfully for the club and took ownership in October 2010.
He has rejuvenated the club since. The masterstroke was the appointment of Jurgen Klopp as a manager in 2015.
Liverpool reached the finals of the League Cup and Europa League in Klopp’s first season, losing both.
The Reds have won all the available trophies since then, including the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, FA Cup, and League Cup.
Liverpool won the EPL in 2020, their first top-flight league title in 30 years.
They have become one of the best teams in the world, boasting of star players like Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Thiago Alcantara, and so on.
7. Philip Anschutz (LA Galaxy)
A founding member of the MLS, Philip Anschutz owns the league’s most popular team, LA Galaxy.
The American billionaire’s main business interests are in the real estate, oil, rail, and entertainment industries.
LA Galaxy regularly attracts big-name players to the MLS.
8. Dietmar Hopp (Hoffenheim)
Dietmar Hopp, the owner of Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, is an influential businessman in the software and data processing sector, having helped found SAP SE.
Hopp, whose net worth is around $13 billion, has reportedly invested about €400 million into Hoffenheim.
Due to his financial backing, the club has rapidly advanced through the German football league system. Hoffenheim got promoted to the Bundesliga in 2008.
In the 2017/18 season, it finished third in the Bundesliga (its best to date) — qualifying for the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time in history.
9. Saudi Public Investment Fund (Newcastle United)
The sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia purchased an 80 percent stake in Newcastle in October 2021 to complete a takeover.
Sports & Media and PCP Capital Partners both have 10% stakes in the club.
The Public Investment Fund is headed by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Its governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, has been appointed as Newcastle’s chairman.
The fund is reported to have assets of over $430 billion.
The owners appointed Eddie Howe as manager and have immensely backed him in the transfer market as Newcastle gradually rose to become one of the best clubs in the world.
Newcastle is one of the football clubs owned by royal families.
10. Zhang Jindong (Inter Milan)
Chinese billionaire, Zhang Jindong, acquired a majority ownership stake in Serie A club Inter in 2016 — through his company, the Suning Holdings Group.
The Suning group is a retail business dealing in domestic appliances, but Jindong’s other interests extend to the media and broadcasting sector and sports.
He has brought back the Nerazzurri to be among the top clubs in Europe.
In 2021, Inter Milan finally won the Serie A title — 11 years after the triumph of the 2009/10 season.